Insects, Infestations, and How to Treat Them

By George “Eddie” Rodieck, Jr.

Now that spring as arrived, you’ll need to be on the lookout for insects and other infestations ready to raid your landscaping. Insects and fungi can spell real problems for your plants, flowers, and trees if they aren’t handled quickly and can even lead to plant death. With these tips, you’ll know what to look for and how to treat for them.

Caterpillars
Caterpillars can wreak havoc on your garden. These look like fat worms that feast on the leaves of plants and trees. Tacoma Stans and Mountain Laurels may be particularly susceptible to this pest.

Red Spider
Pyracantha, tecoma stans, mountain laurels, and junipers are susceptible to this small insect though Texas Mountain Laurels do not get them. Red Spider looks just like they sound: they appear as tiny, red spiders that turn foliage brown when they infect a plant. As a side note, oleanders do not need treated for red spider as the plant is not harmed by this insect.

Scale
This pest attaches itself to the bottom of calendula’s and other flowers. Typically, the female scales will attach themselves to a branch or the underside of a leaf and stay there. They look like little bumps that can range in color. They can appear as a circle or a teardrop shape. Scale causes plants and flowers to deteriorate in a short period of time so be especially watchful.

Rust
Rust is a fungal disease that appears as little brown dots that develop up and down the stems of Snapdragons and other plants such as roses, tomatoes, and pines. It can even appear on grass. If not treated quickly, it can cause a decline in the health of your plants and even lead to their demise.

Aphids
These are little bugs that are quite prevalent that are often found on oleanders and roses. If you notice one or two aphids on your flowers now, within two weeks and with warm temperatures, you can expect them to saturate your foliage. To determine if you have an aphid problem, pick one of two flowers and beat them on a white piece of paper. If you see aphids, it’s appropriate to spray to prevent a further infestation.

Thrips
Thrips are a pest that can cause leaves to curl and are often found on citrus trees in addition to other plants. We do not recommend treating citrus for Thrips as they are a purely aesthetic problem on citrus trees.

Treatment
You can treat any of these insects and infestations with products from your local lawn and garden store. In addition to sprays and powders, granules are available that you water into the soil. Some pest control treatments and preventatives also double as fertilizers. See a salesperson at your lawn and garden store for further advice or feel free to contact contact Cherry Landscape at (520) 292-9776 as we’re here to help.